Tale of the Drunken Sword: Writing from a Place of Joy

Book cover: Tale of the Drunken Sword. Asian woman in white dress with sword at her side surrounded by red autumn leavesOnce in a while you get a story that feels like a gift. The story flows together and it’s an absolute joy to put down the words.

It’s a rare occurrence for me. I mean, I love writing and enjoy each novel or short story. I enjoy the work that goes into it and how much effort it takes to smooth out a rough draft to make it into something close to what I envisioned. But occasionally, the story feels, not like work, but like play. From start to finish.

That’s how writing Tale of the Drunken Sword felt to me. It was an idea that had been percolating for some time and I let my head pick it up shortly after leaving the stressful day job. Writing this story was a celebration.

I used to take piano lessons starting in elementary school and through high school. (Surprise, stereotypical Asian?) I was never particularly good at it. I’ve always noticed that people like my sister have a different relationship to music. The way she heard songs and even the way she processed sound seemed to have so much more to it than when I listened to music. This was long before she took up piano lessons again and became the awesome pianist that she is now.

It was always work for me to play the piano. Work that I liked, but work nonetheless. And that’s probably why I quit when the going got tough.

There was this one time, a couple years in, when I was playing a song for my piano teacher and afterwards she asked me if I loved playing the piano. I told her I did. (I actually asked my mother for piano lessons, not the other way around. And then she made my brother and sister take lessons too because, heck, she already bought a whole piano for me.)

My teacher said the way I played that song made her feel that I really loved playing. Most of my piano lesson memories were of heavy sighs and getting the same song re-assigned week after week because it was obvious I hadn’t practiced enough. And me scraping by the annual Guild and Certificate of Merit tests because I could wing the theory even if my playing was only so-so.

But I always remembered that compliment because I did really love it. Or I loved it when I could play — but it just wasn’t so easy to just play every song.

As I was finishing the edits to Tale of the Drunken Sword, I typed in a fix to a sentence and I noticed how my fingers rolled off the keys. Even as clunky of as I was of a pianist, I have the muscle memory. I did play for years and years.

It felt like I was at a piano playing a song, the way my hands were moving.

I’m writing this down now in my cognitive science way of trying to capture lightning in a bottle. Because when this happens, it is as rare as lightning striking. The desire to try to hold onto the magic and save it for “next time” is so strong.

Writing is a lot of work for me but sometimes my writing brain will turn off. And I can hear the music.

Tale of the Drunken Sword is a short wuxia swordfight fantasy that’s full of awesome. Great for a one-hour read over lunch break.

You can buy it here:

Amazon | Kobo | iBook | Nook | Gumroad (alt for .mobi)

Introducing Liliana Lee


It’s been a while since my last blog — mostly because I’ve been wrestling with my previous spam filter which decided I received enough traffic to try to start charging me. I don’t–not even close. But hopefully I have a reasonable replacement in place now. On top of that, I’ve been writing!


Gunpowder Alchemy released last month. This was a big change for me working with a new publisher and jumping into a new genre. Thank you so much for your continued support! The book is available in ebook from all the major retailers:

This month, I’m excited to introduce my alter ego, Liliana Lee, who has just released her “debut” historical erotica novel. For the last six months, I’ve been working on an indie project based on the infamous Princess Shanyin who had a harem of thirty male concubines at her command. There’s more information about the hows and whys of my other identity in the Q & A section below.

Princess Shanyin: The Complete Obsession Saga

Though Princess Shanyin has a harem of male concubines to serve her every sexual fantasy, from the moment she sees the handsome Chu Yuan, she has to have him. At her request, the Emperor gives the aristocrat over to Shanyin for her pleasure, setting off a power play of sensual torment and dominance between them.
Reader advisory: This is an erotic novel and contains steamy and explicit menage scenes.

BUY:Amazon | B&N |All Romance eBooks | Kobo | iTunes

FREE: The Obsession
If you’d like to try Liliana Lee out, the first installment, The Obsession, is currently free for download at all major online retailers.

Q & A : What’s up with this new pen name?

Q: Will there still be Jeannie Lin books?
A: Yes! Liliana Lee will only be used for my erotic works. I’ll be continuing to write as Jeannie Lin for everything else. I’ll be continuing with the Gunpowder Chronicles steampunk series and I have A Dance with Danger (Rebels and Lovers #2), the sequel to The Sword Dancer, out May 1, 2015.  Also look for first contemporary release: This Wedding is Doomed!, a continuity with three other authors, out in June.

Q: What about the Lotus Palace series?
A: Many readers have asked me about the Lotus Palace series and the character of Wei-wei in particular. I always planned for her to eventually have her own story, but currently it’s not coming in clear to me what that story will be. After A Dance with Danger is released, I don’t have any other Tang Dynasty romances planned in the near future. I’m not saying I won’t ever come back to the world of the pleasure quarter — I loved writing these two books so much — but right now the timing doesn’t feel right for the series.

Q: Why erotica? Are you trying to jump on the erotic romance bandwagon with the FSOG movie coming out? *wink* *wink*
A: If I wanted to follow any market trend, I should have chosen a setting besides imperial China (I can’t quit you!!).

The story behind this project is that I had come across the historical account of Princess Shanyin while researching Chinese beds. The story immediately captured my attention–a harem of 30 concubines. A decadent and ruthless dynasty. And above all that, a story of seduction involving a handsome aristocrat. A story that survived a thousand years! I felt in my gut, however, that this story wouldn’t work as a historical romance like the ones I had written before. It had to be a sex story to really explore its full potential. So that’s how I wrote it.

Q: So is the Princess Shanyin saga just a Jeannie Lin historical romance with steamier love scenes or what?
A: I would categorize Princess Shanyin as romantic erotica. Emphasis on the erotica. To quote Tiffany Reisz’s The Siren, “Romance is sex plus love. Erotica is sex plus fear.”

Yes, there is a central romance in the book. I’ll leave it at that.

Q: Why a serialized novel?
A: Since I’ve never done a serial before, I decided to wait until the entire saga was available before announcing as most of my readers likely prefer full-length novels.

Along with playing with the characters and plot, I wanted to experiment with the storytelling. Given my busy schedule, I was able to conceptualize, schedule and execute three serially linked novellas more effectively than I would have been able to do one novel straight through. On a more business oriented note, I was still on contract with a publisher and wanted to make certain that there was no gray area as to whether this book should be submitted to them or not. Based on length, subject matter, characterizations, genre — what I’m trying to say is that this is definitely not a Harlequin novel — so I was able to move fast on it without question.

Q: Will there be more Liliana Lee stories?
A: Yes. I am planning to split my time between writing as Liliana and Jeannie. The follow-up to Princess Shanyin will be coming out early 2015. There’s a teaser short story in the bundle. 🙂

Q: Is there a print version available?
A: Yes, there is a print version available through Createspace. I’m making a few tweaks so the book is not currently available, however I hope to fix that soon!